Clean Campaign Pledge – What’s that?

I read with interest on Cllr Ian Lewis’ blog that the Conservative candidate there has signed a Clean Campaign Pledge. It did take me a while to find what that pledge meant which I found on the Conservative’s website.

It seems this is the Tory’s reaction to what went on in Oldham East and Saddleworth regarding the Phil Woolas trial and subsequent byelection over misleading campaign literature designed to “make the white folk angry”.

There may be those who know me and read this blog that may think I am currently too harsh on Labour’s candidate Harry Smith. However anyone who chooses to stand in an election realises that they open themselves up for criticism on what they’ve done in the past, haven’t done, what they’ve said etc.

As the only candidate for Bidston & St. James that has a vote in the election here, I naturally have an opinion about Harry’s record as ward councillor over the past four years from a voter’s and candidate’s perspective.

It is Cllr Smith’s policy and record that will mean I will not be voting for him or his party on May 5th. I am thankful for the years that Liberal Democrat and Labour councillors on Wirral Council worked together for the people of Wirral, but I genuinely feel people have been let down here by Labour.

On the doorsteps and streets of Bidston & St. James I have heard the views of many voters (of all party political persuasions) and I’m not giving away any secrets at all here or breaking confidences to say that:-

a) the people of Bidston & St. James have benefitted (and so have Labour and the Lib Dems) in this area by “healthy” dialogue between the two political parties as to what is best here. “Safe seats” and “jobs for life” for politicians encourage politicians not to reflect the public’s views but that of their political party,

b) the more voices and viewpoints involved in the political process the better, nobody’s vote is “wasted” unless they choose not to vote and everyone was pleased that (partly thanks to the General Election on the same day) last year thousands more people voted.

c) there are people that have a loyalty to a particular party and will vote for that party’s candidate, however much they may dislike the person they’re voting for.

d) it is a two-horse race between the Lib Dems and Labour here and in the hands of people who haven’t yet made their mind up.

Reasons to Vote Liberal Democrat in Bidston & St. James ward on May 5th – Day Seven

Reasons to Vote Liberal Democrat in Bidston & St. James ward on May 5th – Day Seven

                                          

Following on from my blog post about the voluntary, community and faith sector I was out delivering on the Beechwood today and passed the Beechwood Community Association (which has a large sign pointing out Cllr Harry Smith is one of its trustees).

Its stated activity is “to work for the benefit of Beechwood residents” (which to me sounds very much like a job description for a Bidston & St. James ward councillor!). According to the Charity Commission, its accounts for 2005/2006 are over 4 years late! The accounts for the financial years ending 2008 and 2010 were both received over a month late and the accounts for 2009 are overdue by a year.

Its annual return for 2006 was submitted nearly a year late, the 2009 one was 23 days late and the 2010 annual return is currently over 2 months late. Cllr. Harry Smith is not the sole trustee, there is also a Mr. John Bernard Fletcher. Yet how can the public have confidence in a charity spending over ten thousand pounds most year when it can’t comply with the Charity Commission requirements?

You can read more about the Beechwood Community Association on the Charity Commission website.

Cllr Harry Smith is also a trustee of the Gautby Road Play and Community Centre Joint Management Committee. Although this charity with an income of over £100,000 a year has its paperwork up to date, it has come under a great deal of criticism from local residents for keeping its playground locked and not available to be used by the children of Bidston of St. James.

So vote Lib Dem because:-

a) Your Lib Dem candidate is in favour of healthy exercise for children in local play areas and against padlocking them (which doesn’t to my knowledge happen anywhere else on Wirral).

b) Your Lib Dem candidate believes in openness and transparency when it comes to local charities. Everyone should be able to view a charity’s accounts and annual report. There are also strict rules on charities and political parties.